As MiningWatch celebrates our 10th anniversary we are pleased to also be celebrating the one year anniversary of Quebec’s new voice on the mining industry “La coalition pour que le Québec ait meilleure mine!”, roughly translated as “The Coalition to Put a Better Face on Quebec Mining.” (There’s a double-entendre in the name as mine means ‘appearance’ or ‘face’ as well as ‘mine’ in French.) MiningWatch is an active member providing our input, analysis and a small partner support grant to the Coalition.
The Coalition has a strong and diverse membership from academic and NGO spheres. Members include organisations that operate Canada-wide and others that are focused in Quebec as well as a number of regional and local groups. (See sidebar.)
In the last year the coalition has taken on a number of issues, some in reaction to emerging concerns, and some in a proactive approach to improving the environmental and social performance of the mining industry in what the Fraser Institute considers the world’s friendliest mining jurisdiction.
Highlights of the coalitions first year have included:
- Responding to a tailings spill at the closed Opemiska mine and using the incident to raise awareness about abandoned mines, and the need to reform Quebec’s inadequate mine closure policies.
- Undertaking a review of the Quebec Mining Act and developing a slate of legislative reforms for a new and improved act. The work of Ecojustice and CIELAP in bringing together NGO concerns and proposals for a new Ontario Mining Act (with MiningWatch’s help) served as a solid foundation for this project.
- Ongoing review and commentary on the environmental impact statement for Osisko’s proposed low-grade open pit gold mine. This mine would require relocating a large portion of the town of Malartic and produce more wastes than all other operating gold mines in Quebec. It represents an alarming shift in mineral development practices in Quebec.
- Working with numerous regional and local groups calling for a halt to uranium exploration in Quebec. Significant gains have been made on this issue as the Parti Québecois and Québec Solidaire have both called for a moratorium and the town of Sept Iles has seen significant and organised resistance to proposed exploration in close proximity to the source of their drinking water.
Ugo Lapointe is the facilitator for the Coalition and can be reached at: ulapointe_quebecmeilleuremine(at)ymail.com
Members of the coalition Pour que le Québec ait meilleure mine!
- Action boréale Abitibi-Témiscamingue
- Association de protection de l’environnement des Hautes-Laurentides, comité uranium
- Coalition de l’ouest du Québec contre l’exploitation de l’uranium (COQEU)
- Comité vigilance Malartic
- Forum de l’Institut des sciences de l’environnement de l’UQAM
- MiningWatch Canada
- Mouvement Vert Mauricie
- Nature Québec
- Professionnels de la santé pour la survie mondiale
- Regroupement pour la surveillance du nucléaire
- Réseau québécois des groupes écologistes
- Société pour la nature et les parcs du Canada – SNAP-Québec